Activity 16: Photo Finish


  • Brainstorm and share creative problem-solving strategies to cross the finish line together
  • Work together to cross the finish line
  • Discuss the experience and their feelings

Character Focus



Time: 1 minute
4 Toobeez tubes
1 envelope
chart paper (optional)

  1. Place the Risk Taking Note into an envelope.
  2. Connect the four Toobeez end to end.
  3. Place the finish line in the middle of the room

The Challenge

The group must cross the Toobeez finish line at exactly the same time.

Safety Reminders!

Appropriate caution is important to conduct these activities in a safe manner. Be sure to review these reminders prior to beginning the activity, and if necessary, share reminders with the group during the activity.

  • Follow general safety procedures

Helpful hints

  • It’s likely that someone in the group will inadvertently cross the plane of the finish line. Should this happen, the facilitator says, “Click!” This represents one of the group’s five attempts. Hopefully the group will take greater care around the finish line
  • Use a digital camera and take a picture of each attempt (of each “click”) to help validate a ruling

Activity Instructions

  1. Circle up the group. Distribute or display the appropriate “Risk Taking Note” for the activity. Have one participant read it aloud twice. Provide a few moments for the participants to think about the message:
    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.” - Theodore Roosevelt
  2. Share the following storyline with group.
    You are working together to finish a race that you have trained for your entire life! You must work together to reach your goal of crossing that finish line.
  3. Read aloud the following Activity Challenge Box to the group.
    Challenge: The group must cross the Toobeez finish line at exactly the same time. Follow the guidelines below:
    • The group has 15 minutes to make five attempts at crossing the finish line (break the vertical plane of the finish line) at exactly the same time
    • If any guidelines are broken, the group must begin again
  4. Before the participants attempt an activity challenge, have the group work through the following six steps:
  5. Problem Solving Sequence:

    1. Circle up
    2. Know and understand the challenge and the guidelines
    3. Brainstorm
    4. Make a plan
    5. Do the plan
    6. Evaluate results and adjust as necessary
  6. Gather the team on one side of the finish line and explain the rules.
  7. The facilitator should be positioned at one end of the finish line to judge.
  8. Each time someone breaks the plane of the finish line, the facilitator says “click!”
  9. If participants get stuck, have the students circle up again. Here are some suggested questions to help guide the group back on track*:
    • What is working?
    • What ideas have you not tried yet that someone suggested?
  10. If your group is still struggling OR if you feel your group would benefit from an additional challenge, present a variation provided on the next page.
  11. After the activity, move to the debriefing questions for discussion.

Activity Variations

  1. Bring the finish line closer.
    To make things MUCH harder, stand the team up with their backs against a wall and place the finish line only three feet in front of the group. This little twist makes planning much more difficult because they have so little room.
  2. Move the finish line further away.
    To decrease the difficulty, setup the finish line in the middle of the room where a team has plenty of room to discuss and make a plan

Debriefing the Activity

Use these debriefing questions as a guide for your discussion. Select the questions you feel will best benefit your group. It is not mandatory to cover every question. If possible, record the group’s responses on flip chart paper so all comments are displayed. Make sure to let everyone share their ideas, and remind participants that everyone’s opinions and feelings are important!

Base questions for debriefing:

  • What did you just do together?
  • Were you all moving in unison or separately? Describe this.
  • This activity took a lot of planning. What is something in your life that you are planning?
  • What would you like to plan in your life?
  • How did you feel while you did the activity?
  • What was one of the challenges of doing this activity?
  • What advice would you give to another group working on this activity?

If the group was unable to complete the task in the given time:

  • What did a fellow team member do that was really helpful?
  • Since you were not able to solve the problem, does it mean your group is a failure? (Push the group to respond with more than a “yes” or “no” and to instead point out and discuss what they learned.)
  • How do you feel now?

Additional questions: Choose which ones are the most appropriate:

  • Did your group have a clear action plan?
  • What was one positive thing that happened during the challenge?
  • How do you work to keep improving your work with others?
  • What did the group have to do or believe to be successful?
  • How can you apply what you learned in this activity to your life and work?
  • Did you try different ideas? If so, why did you change your approach?

Close on a Positive Note

Sum up the different ideas and feelings that you heard expressed, and restate ideas and learning moments the participants shared. Then, read the Risk Taking Note out loud again, and ask people to discuss what they think this note means. Discuss what they thought it meant at the beginning and what they think it means now.

* (ˆ) Do not provide the participants with answers. Allow them to work together.